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Purple Media Network

NSU hires new faculty eager to teach

Nina Ovalle
Sloane Artis, director of musical theatre, has officially been welcomed to NSU for the 2023-2024 academic school year.

Northwestern State University of Louisiana has increased its number of new faculty on campus for the 2023-2024 academic school year with the addition of 32 new members.
Compared to the 25 new faculty NSU welcomed in the 2022-2023 academic school year, NSU has increased hiring by 28%.
Greg Handel, provost and vice president of academic affairs, explains the reason for hiring a larger number of new faculty.
“We had several resignations and retirements that occurred throughout the last academic year, and those were in programs with high enrollments or in our General Education core,” Handel said. “Therefore, we needed to hire the faculty to take on the workload.”
In the process of hiring new faculty, a national advertisement for any open position is published. A committee of faculty from each department is formed with the responsibility of narrowing down the candidates. Then, virtual interviews are conducted with typically four to six candidates and two to three candidates are invited to NSU for face-to-face interviews.
“Then, the candidate that best meets the needs of the position is then offered the job and we hope they accept,” Handel said.
Handel’s hopes were met with the list of new faculty for the 2023-2024 academic school year.
The School of Social Sciences and Applied Programs has hired Jasmine Wise.
Larry Arant, Sarah Barnes, Linda Stringfield, Misty Couvillion, Ava Miller, Sarah Crow, Katrina Seymore, Chelsea McCullin, Lisa Lee, Michelle Gibson, Ellen Grappe, Kevin Aycock, Larissa Scott Koll and Christie Rawlings have been hired for the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health.
The College of Business and Technology has hired Simon Njeri.
Jonathan Clayton, John McBride, Stephen Clark, Jennifer Pulling, Ben Herrick, Will Sawyer and Sloane Artis have been hired for the Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA).
Victoria Krista Jenkins, Shea Montgomery and Oona Zbitkovskis have been hired for the Department of English, Languages, and Cultural Studies
The Department of Physical Science has hired Damien Tristant.
The Louisiana Scholars’ College has hired Robert Page.
Sunggun Jeon, Erick Kigen and Dylan Solice have been hired for the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development.
Lastly, the Department of Social Work has hired Randolph Hoffpauir.
Marcus Jones, president of NSU, spoke to existing and new faculty at the 2023 Faculty Institute about the roles of each and every faculty member to help all NSU students.

“When I spoke to faculty at the Faculty Institute, I said this last year and I said it again, retaining students, that’s a university wide function, that’s everybody from the janitor all the way up to the president and everybody in between, that’s all of our role,” Jones said.

Jones stresses the importance of the faculty and student relationship.

“Oftentimes, the faculty are the ones that see when a student is not doing well and sometimes that’s the person that that student talks to, so some of the warning signs they see long before anybody else,” Jones said.

Simon Njeri Ngacha, newly hired assistant professor in the College of Business, agrees with Jones and recognizes the impact faculty members can make on a student.

“This is a journey where we need to walk with the students, especially to mentor them,” Ngacha said. “As a faculty member we need to come up with creative ways to maintain, retain and also recruit.”

Ngacha believes in applying what he learns from students to make his class more appealing to his students.

“I know the challenges students do face, I do believe that I am here to walk with them and listen to them, to find creative ways of engaging my students, (and) to try and break the complexity to a level where everyone feels like there is something to enjoy everyday,” Ngacha said.

Ngacha speaks about what drew him to apply for a position at NSU.

“The mere fact of the NSU vision and the three pillars of research, community service and teaching align very well with my aspirations and inspired me to join this team,” Ngacha said.

Damien Tristant, newly hired assistant professor of physics, was born and raised in France and, as a student, studied abroad in the United Kingdom, Brazil and the United States. He says these experiences are what led him to become a professor at NSU.

“I came to realize the stark inequalities that exist in our world,” Tristant said. “At NSU, I am privileged to share fundamental knowledge of physics through comprehensive courses, engaging with students from various backgrounds in meaningful research pursuits.”

Tristant began his application process in March of 2023 through an internet application which then led to an online interview.

“The committee adeptly put me at ease, discussing my teaching and research background, my expectations from NSU, and outlined their vision for the role of a future Assistant Professor of Physics,” Tristant said.

Tristant primarily teaches physics courses and labs and is actively seeking funding for research and supervising students to assist in his research. He wishes to tackle the prospect of local scientific issues in Louisiana, while actively participating in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program.

“By combining education and research, I aim not only to advance my own understanding but also to make a tangible impact on the scientific community and the lives of those in need,” Tristant said.

Sloane Artis, newly hired director of musical theatre, teaches a number of CAPA classes in which she is happy to be a part of.

“I teach a voice class, musical theatre performance classes, theory and sight singing, then I also teach voice lessons and currently I’m music directing both of the musicals,” Artis said. “I feel pretty good about it, I’m excited, I’m excited to be here and I’m honored.”

Artis shares a story to describe how she feels about her students.

“I had a previous student that reached out to me and was like ‘I don’t know what to sing for this audition’ and I gave her some suggestions, she wrote me back and she said ‘thank you for being my person even though we don’t see each other anymore’ because she’s done with school,” Artis said. “So, the number one thing is that I always want to be there for them, my door is always open.”

Along with Artis, Tristant also lets students know that his door is always open.

“My door is perpetually open to students, providing an inviting space to engage in scientific discussions, share queries, ideas, or thoughts,” Tristant said. “I am particularly eager to connect with students, your curiosity is warmly welcomed.”

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About the Contributor
Nina Ovalle
Nina Ovalle, Current Sauce - News Editor
Nina Ovalle is a junior hospitality management and tourism major. This is her third year in The Current Sauce, and second year as News editor. She hopes to bring important campus information to light and make students aware of everything that goes on around them.

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